Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park Ian Malcolm

As the summer winds to a close, I tend to look back at some of the activities I’ve done with my kids. Living in Ohio, I have access to one of the best zoos in the country, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. However, after a couple visits, it gets tiresome of looking at the same animals over and over again. Thanks to the heartbreaking documentary Blackfish, it’s not cool to visit Sea World any more (and the old Sea World of Ohio location fled the state for warmer temperatures years ago). Without these options, there are few opportunities to look at new and interesting animals. Having recently watched Jurassic Park, I found myself wishing there was a real-life dinosaur park where I could take the kids. Of course, it should be humanely run and not include any velociraptors running amok due to a greedy programmer shutting down park security. I’m sure those issues of park life would be ironed out in beta testing. This got me thinking, at least for next summer’s family activities: How close are scientists to making a real-life Jurassic Park by cloning dinosaurs?

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Congo Martini

If I was disappointed with Jurassic Park, there was no reason for me to be hopeful about Congo. I didn’t even like the book of the latter as much as I did the dino novel, but I guess I believed it wouldn’t take as much to be faithful to Michael Crichton’s 1980 ape-filled adventure story. To me, at that time in my life, retaining and translating everything from page to screen was important. And given all that was altered in the adaptation for the worse, I would remain in that camp for a few more years. There are a lot of things that make Congo one of the most awful movies ever made, but the thing that’s always been a clincher for me is the portrayal of Amy the Gorilla. I didn’t really mind that it was a person in a costume, especially since there wasn’t much better in the movies to compare it to then. Computers could create a convincing T. rex, but realistically rendered hairy primates were not yet in the cards for Hollywood in 1995. Instead, I’m referring to the way they made the ASL-fluent gorilla wear a mechanical glove to translate her signing. Obviously the decision was made to pander to moviegoers so we didn’t have to read subtitles of Amy’s communication with her trainer, Dr. Peter Elliot (Dylan Walsh). In the context of the story, however, it didn’t make any sense for her to have the prosthetic. It would’ve been an unnecessary expense when Elliot could already understand her just fine, and […]

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The past couple years have been a rocky road for Universal Studios. Long strings of costly box office flops like The Wolfman, Cowboys and Aliens, and Your Highness have not been completely balanced by their hits. Even this year, the success of The Lorax and Snow White and the Huntsman don’t completely wipe out the red numbers on the books from Wanderlust, The Five-Year Engagement, and most recently Battleship. Oddly enough, their DVD and Blu-ray releases of catalogue titles have been causing the most buzz. The studio’s 100th Anniversary Blu-ray releases of E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial and Jaws are making as much noise as their releases of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park box sets. Plus, Jurassic Park is getting a high profile re-release in 3D next summer. It only makes sense that the studio goes back to these popular franchises for a new hit. Deadline Isla Nublar is reporting that Universal has found writers for the long-awaited Jurassic Park 4. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who are best known for penning last summer’s prequel hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its upcoming sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, will be tackling the script for the high-profile dinosaur adventure.

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Culture Warrior

A genre nearly as old as filmmaking itself, the western thrived throughout the years of the studio system but has zigzagged across rough terrain for the past forty or so years. For the last fifteen-ish years, the struggling, commercially unfriendly genre was either manifested in a neoclassical nostalgic form limited in potential mass appeal (Appaloosa, Open Range) or in reimagined approaches that ran the gamut between contrived pap and inspired deconstructions (anything from Wild Wild West to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). But last December, True Grit – a bona fide western remake that relied on the opportunities available in the genre’s conventions rather than bells, whistles, or ironic tongues in their respective cheeks – became a smash hit. Did this film reinvigorate a genre that was on life support, as the supposed revitalization of the musical is thought to have done a decade ago, or are westerns surviving by moving along a different route altogether? Three westerns released so far this year – Gore Verbinski’s Rango, Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, and, as of this weekend, Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens – suggest mixed directions for the dusty ol’ genre.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Just like a beautiful woman, the trailer today begins by flaunting an outward appearance of grace and flawlessness, but soon that inner ugly comes crashing out alongside some fantastic 80s computer graphics. This isn’t about television commercials. It’s more than that. They’re killing all the perfect girls. Most likely this Michael Crichton-directed flick was the forerunner for S1m0ne, but please don’t hold that against it. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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spielberg-piratelatitudes-header

Steven Spielberg has always had a thing for pirates, and Michael Crighton. Meet the intersection of those two passions…

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Author Michael Crichton

Today brings a bit of sadness to the entertainment — and more notably the sci-fi community as outlets across the country are reporting that “Jurassic Park” author and ER creator Michael Crichton has passed away.

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This Memorial Day A&E would like you to ditch the celebrations and quarantine yourself in front of a TV to catch their two night, four hour miniseries adaptation of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. Click in to see some production images and get more information about this Science Fiction event.

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